Hello Walking, My Old Friend…

Happy dogs on thursday, little friday and thankful thursday.  Gretchen has a cute little post up over on the fur-girls’ blog.  This has been a VERY hectic week in the woods, so I’m pulling out a draft I wrote months ago, because #1 and #3 couldn’t be more appropriate right now.   And truly, I am very thankful for my four-legged personal trainers and my human girlfriends, one of whom recently pointed out that she’s proud of me for making my own health and fitness a top priority, even if it means I sacrifice a good hair day along the way.

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Some of you know that I’ve had an ebb and flow relationship with exercise.   I’ve been very active and not at all, but rarely anywhere in between.  It’s that “everything in moderation” thing that trips me up. 

After reading a post on Wardrobe Oxygen about exercise excuses, I realized I am basically a pro about skirting those excuses, so I thought I’d share how I overcame a few common hurdles.  Please keep in mind that I’m NOT preaching to you or trying to force you into doing something you’re not comfortable doing, but I think a lot of us battle the same demons, and maybe someone out there needs to “hear” something written below…

  1. Time.  Okay folks, you aren’t going to like this answer one bit.  It’s a matter of priorities.  Forget motivation, although I’m the first to admit that without it, you’re fighting an uphill battle.  Forget FINDING time; most of our schedules are too tight and busy to begin with.  You just have to suck it up and create a new habit.  gMarie finds it easiest to spend some time with her Wii Fit in the mornings, while I find after work to be better.  As Nike says, just do it.
  2. Budget/equipment.  Yeah, Wii Fit makes it fun, even silly and easy, but if you can hobble around the grocery store or the mall, you can walk.  Unless you have a bad back or other underlying problem, you don’t need to invest big bucks in fancy walking shoes until you’re logging a few miles.  Just start out in something that doesn’t rub blisters, and then reward yourself with comfywalking shoes later.  Yoga is also free; you can find videos free online even.   Heck, I used to have a tough ol’ former Marine firefighter co-worker who ran in his steel-toed/shank, mid-calf duty boots, and often passed me on the track… and that was back when I was in the best shape of my life!!
  3. The whole sweat/being out in public/need to shower thing.  That was my excuse for years, until Sissy proved that I CAN work/walk around it.  Honestly folks…  if I can risk a great hair day the afternoon I’m about to be recognized as the new president elect of the Junior League to walk my beasties, you can do a moderate, 30-minute walk and go back to your desk at work.  As with #1… just get over it, even if it is hot and humid where you live and you sweat like a horse.   I do too.  Slap on a fresh layer of make-up, spritz with a clean scent, fluff the hair, take a deep breath, and know that your healthy radiance will overcome any lingering workout funk.
  4. Convenience.  See above.  Honestly, it’s convenient for me to workout about twice a month.  I always have a meeting to go back into town for, or dinner out with the Knight, or I’ve had a bad day and I need to just BE.  Sissy says HOGWASH!  Walk me!  And then that one eye blinks and she moos and Gretchen starts bouncing off the walls – or TMI moment here… off of ME while I’m trying to go potty – and I realize that our walks are as important to them as they are to me.
  5. Back to motivation.   Sissy also has shown that giving in to a guilt trip can be the best exercise excuse buster there is.  Have a little person in your life you want to see graduate, get married, etc.?  Then get up and move so your heart will stay healthy.  Have a nagging doctor?  Gosh, I’m sorry, because mine is my friend and is totally supportive in a whole-health kind of way, but if nothing else, shut that nag up by getting fit.  Have an event coming up?  Fine.  Put a photo of the slinky dress you want to wear in your bathroom mirror and march to it.
  6. Back to time…  take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Park further away from everything.  Do squats while you dry your hair.  Every little bit helps.  Another TMI moment, but I’ve been sucking my gut in every few seconds while typing this post.  Strong abs offset a multitude of sins AND look great. 

So, we walk every single day, ran or shine, unless there’s a severe storm warning or something equally dire.  I also make time for yoga, Wii Fit and the elliptical trainer a few other times in the week. 

If you’re still reading and don’t hate me, know that I too had to start back with baby steps.  I won’t ever again be a runner or a power lifter, but I’m healthier than I’ve been since my back injury some 13 years ago.  I had several false starts and epic fails along the way, but this time I had a one-eyed girl who reminds me “Today could be the last time I can see my neighborhood,” so we walk.  Sometimes it’s only for a quick mile or so, but I found my motivation in Sissy’s glaucoma.

Of course, I’m not a doctor, so please see yours before you start anything new in the realm of fitness, diet or health.  Likewise, check with your pet’s vet before trying to create your own furry personal trainer.  Gretchen and most terriers are pretty sturdy, resiliant walking/running/hiking companions, but double-coated breeds (bassets!), breeds with “smooooshed” noses and most very small dogs simply aren’t up to human fitness walking.

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16 comments on “Hello Walking, My Old Friend…

  1. gMarie says:

    Great inspirational and informative post. And you are so right – just do it. I need to get up and walk out every day and take about a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood. The office will survive, right?

    And my furry helpers love to go and would like more walks. g

  2. Sue says:

    Now that the temps are getting a little lower, Norma jean and I need to get back to heel training. It’s as good an excuse to move as any.

  3. Karen says:

    Great post, Chan. It is very inspirational. Core Knowledge has given me a free 1 year fitness membership to ACAC. They are so generous and supportive here at work. I cannot and will not let them do this for me and not use it. My membership starts Sept. 1st so I look forward to beginning my journey back to a reasonable state of fitness; despite the aches and pains of arthritis. Thanks for the inspiration to get out of the recliner after dinner and go to the gym.

  4. Katherine says:

    All such good advice and I am appropriately shamed! I just told DH I don’t want to go to the YMCA to walk on the treadmill because we have friends coming for dinner and I need to focus on that. Shame, shame!!! I am inspired and motivated. Thanks!

  5. Kathy says:

    Awesome and informative little post. It’s great you found your happy medium and it gives you some more one on one time with those girls 😀

  6. AlisonHyde says:

    Guilt worked for me in getting me to form the habit: Ruth gave me her treadmill, so I’d darn well better use it and make it worth her sacrifice.

    And in the past year there have been maybe seven days altogether where I haven’t. It has made a huge difference to me, even when I just do my 15 minute minimum.

  7. Fantastic Post I will read it again when I get my baby alien removed (hernia fixed) until then no exercise for me

  8. Nancy says:

    I discovered that the Senior Center has a Fitness Room with four stationary bikes, two treadmills, a weight machine, an elliptical for individuals to use. Even though I don’t consider myself a senior, my body and age profess otherwise. I take two exercise classes at the Center and then work out in the Fitness Room afterward. I also pop in a Leslie Sansone DVD at home.

  9. I should say something very positive here, right? Um…I bought wii Fit, and a Yoga video, and a stair stepper thingy….but, truly, when the Boy goes back to school…it’ll be the walkies they MUST have that gets me moving.

  10. Amy says:

    That was a fantastic post! I’ve been thinking about getting John a Wii for Christmas, and a Wii Fit for myself.

    I started wearing a pedometer at work, since joining Weight Watchers. It looks like, on an average, I walk FOUR MILES a night in that place. That’s at least 3 activity points, and I’m using every one of them! LOL

  11. Marjie says:

    I know it’s a cop-out, but if the cooking and whatnot I do around the house plus the dozen or 2 trips up/down the stairs aren’t enough, then I’ll never get enough exercise. I’m just lazy. Good for Sissy, getting you out and about.

  12. Carol says:

    Great Post! I will think of any excuse in the book not to exercise. On most days I do walk thirty minutes but I hate it. Your post has given me inspiration :>) Thank you for visiting me. Charli sends woof, Woofs your way.

  13. Blond Duck says:

    Sooooo curious. So how much did you run? You were a powerlifter? Oh my God. Tell me more.

  14. Louise says:

    Inspiring indeed! I might be digging out the Wii Fit in a few months but for now, the leisurely walks will have to do.

    Have you ever heard of Insanity? Just curious, Michele says it offers quite the over loaded work out but I have no idea what it is.

  15. Bubblesknits says:

    You are so right. Most of those are the same excuses I use. Well, except this week. This week I’m just plain tired. Remind me, please, that when hubster gets ready to retire, to just sell all the equipment instead of trying to move it again. This move has been hell. O.o

  16. Nichole says:

    So proud of you… I need to follow your footsteps!

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